What he said:
A few weeks back I found myself lounging in front of my
fireplace longing for a something I knew would enjoy. I was in
no mood for taking chances. I wanted to be entertained. I
decided to watch Trespass (review here) because I had been catching
parts of it on TV, always enjoyed it, but hadn’t seen it all
the way through in years. Once I finished the movie I
immediately felt the urge to watch Judgement Night.
The two movies always reminded me of one another, and now
that I had seen one, I had to see the other.
Judgement Night is about a bunch of buddies
getting together to go to a boxing match. Emilio Estevez is
Frank. He’s got a wife, newborn daughter, house in the burbs
, and is the most grounded of the bunch. He seems like a
pretty low-key guy, but he actually has a past as a wild man.
His buddies indicate that he had a pretty short fuse growing
up. You can believe it because his younger brother John
(Stephen Dorff) is a hothead. He is ready to fight at the drop
of a hat. You get the vibe that there’s some issues between
the two brothers, mostly which revolves around the fact that
John reminds Frank of himself. Mike (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is
somewhere in between Frank and John. He’s kind of a jackass,
but not as much as a hothead as John. He’s definitely calmer
than John, but also thinks married life has made Frank soft,
and rags on Frank because of that. Ray (Jeremy Piven) is a
weasel. This guy has the personality of a career politician,
car salesman, or a lawyer (and not just any lawyer, but this kind of lawyer). He’s always on.
I don’t think he knows how to act any other way.
So a few hours before the fight they’re all meeting
outside of Frank’s house. Ray – being the sleazy business man
he is – somehow manages to con his way into “test driving” an
RV. This thing is totally loaded. TVs, a brand new stereo
system, a full bar, this thing has got it all. So, they’re
driving to the fight, enjoying the amenities that come with
their sweet ride, and are even watching the preliminary
fights on their way there. Minus one little issue, they’re
having a good time. The problem is they’re not there yet.
Traffic is an absolute nightmare and they’re in danger of
missing the main event. Everyone is starting to
realize they’re going to miss the fight when Ray decides to
take matters into his own hands. He gets off the highway and
opts for a shortcut through unknown parts of inner city
Boy is Ray going to regret that decision. Long-story-short
they get lost in the ghetto, witness a murder, and spend the
rest of the night fleeing from the murderers. The gang is led
by a guy named Fallon (Dennis Leary). Fallon lives by a code
and one of his rules is that there can be no witnesses. He
will not stop until the four friends are eliminated. Along
with his henchmen, he chases them all over this urban
I mentioned earlier that this movie reminds me of
Trespass and it really does. I feel like these
movies could actually take place in the same world, but in two
separate cities. These movies don’t share any of the same
characters, but I always imagined some kind of loose
connection, particularly amongst the gangs. I always
envisioned the gangs from the two movies being affiliated in
some way. Whether it is as enemies or allies, I don’t know.
Maybe it is something as minimal as a one off deal between
the two gangs, but in my mind these two movies always seemed
They have a lot in common too. Both are about regular guys
thrust into a dangerous situations in a completely foreign,
urban, and dangerous environment. Both movies playoff of
stereotypes, paranoia, and have characters with exaggerated
personalities. They’re both also satisfying action thrillers
with a few laughs thrown in.
Neither movie feels like a ripoff of the other though.
There’s definitely enough differences between the two to make
each one worth watching. Dennis Leary is pretty funny as the
gang leader Fallon, but he’s also a truly awful person. He’s
very menacing and gets quite personal with Emilion Estevez’s
character at times. Ice T – the lead villain in
Trespass – seems like a fairly reasonable guy at
times. You get the vibe he’s way more willing to work
something out with the innocent bystanders that he’s run into
than Leary’s character is. Both movies are a game of cat and
mouse, but Judgment Night has much more chasing going
on, to whereas Trespass takes place in a single location and
has a much more claustrophobic feel. The paranoia amongst the
two groups being pursued by the gangs is similar, but there’s
enough differences in all of those involved you don’t feel
like one is stealing from the other. Emilio Estevez is
without a doubt the leader of his group, but William Sadler
and Bill Paxton share the spotlight in Trespass.
Judgment Night also has an excellent final
showdown between Frank and Fallon. It’s a knockdown, drag
out, ass-kicker of a fight. Tresspass does not have a
single faceoff between any two characters anything like this.
Diagnosis: Thumbs up.
This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on
March 9, 2013.